Small Business Counseling Program
NOTE: This program is contingent on City Council approval and has not yet been funded. This page is for informational purposes only regarding a proposed program.
In recognition of the significant adverse impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on many businesses in San Marcos, city staff have prepared a preliminary program to offer small business counseling services utilizing American Rescue Plan Act funds. The following is a draft of a potential program. Should City Council approve the program and associated funding, staff will establish the full parameters and scope of work.
The purpose of this Small Business Counseling Program is to build resilient businesses in the City of San Marcos that are situated to succeed and grow in the face of future unexpected events such as a global pandemic, natural disaster, or economic recession. The program fills the gap where seminars and group training sessions do not address the unique problems that can affect a small business’ growth. To accomplish this goal, this program will offer technical, ready-to-apply assistance in key areas such as marketing/digital media, accounting/financial records, human resources/succession planning, and legal preparation. Additional financial support through a small stipend (<$1,500 per business) may be provided for businesses to implement the strategies learned through the program.
Subject matter experts will be contracted through a Request for Qualifications or Request for Proposals process, as deemed appropriate by the Finance Department. These experts will have work hours from noon-7:00 PM throughout the week for businesses to schedule one-to-one counseling sessions to discuss their specific business needs. A component of the program is having counseling sessions available for Spanish-speaking business owners so they will have equal access to business assistance. The City would look to contract with fluent bilingual subject matter experts, or hire translators and interpreters to provide this service. Businesses in the program are entitled to a single one-to-one counseling session per subject matter category per week, and may participate in the program for three months (up to a total of 48 one-to-one counseling sessions should they take advantage of one session per subject matter category per week throughout the three-month period). At the end of the three-month period, the business can apply again for the program, but priority will be given to new applicants to expand access opportunities to as many San Marcos businesses as possible. Subject to City Council approval, the anticipated budget for this program is $500,000 total for up to three years of programming, and staff would estimate beginning the program in January 2022